SPRINT cyclist Nicholas Paul is preparing for a return to the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Aigle, Switzerland.
Paul, who turns 23 on Thursday, is gearing up for his third stint at the World Track Cycling Championships which pedals off at the Velodrome Couvert Regional Jean-Stablinski in Roubaix, France from October 20-24.
He is expected to compete in his pet events: men’s sprint and keirin.
The Trinidad and Tobago cyclist plans to return to the WCC and to resume training with coach Craig McLean, who played an integral role in his and compatriot Kwesi Browne’s Olympic performances. Paul recently returned home after a successful debut at the UCI Nations Cup in Cali, Colombia earlier this month, which saw him win triple-gold; men’s sprint, keirin and kilometre time trial. After placing sixth and 12th in the sprint and keirin respectively at the Summer Games, Paul followed up with a dominant display at the Nations Cup and is hoping for a similar showing at “Worlds.”
If he executes well in France, the Olympian remains quietly confident that he would secure qualification for the UCI Track Champions League in Mallorca, Spain from November 6.
Looking back on his recent performances, Paul was elated. “It was a pleasure winning gold. I’ve been putting in the hard work again so to be able to come out with three gold medals was great. I didn’t expect it.
“It’s (kilometre time trial) all part of my training so I said let me just try it and it went well for me. This is something I’ve been doing in my earlier times so I took a shot at it,” he said. With such a hectic competitive schedule, Paul said that striking the right balance is key to ensuring he performs well. He remains undeterred about participating in so many top-flight international competitions within such short periods of time.
If anything, the Trinidad and Tobago rider uses this as motivation to do better.
“Balance is always there because it’s part of the process. You have to keep going and putting in the hard work.
“I don’t feel pressured or stressed because it’s what I love doing. Once I go and perform my best, I’m happy. Once I rep TT to the best of my ability, I would be happy,” he added.
After the Summer Games, Paul took some time off the bike and then got right back on in preparation for the Nations Cup.
Leading up to his third appearance at World Championships, Paul is taking it a bit lighter for now, but will amplify his training when he returns to Switzerland.
“Right now I’m just doing some road riding to stay in shape ahead of Worlds. The World Championships is the only qualifier event for the Champions League so I must do well to qualify for my debut in Spain possibly,” he said.